On the day of the mass execution of Srebrenica prisoners in Orahovac, military police officer Nebojsa Jeremic stood guard at the entrance to the VRS Zvornik Brigade command. At the same time, his colleagues in the field carried out mass executions of prisoners

Nebojsa Jeremic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trialNebojsa Jeremic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trial

Ratko Mladic’s defense witness Nebojsa Jeremic was a military police officer in the Zvornik Brigade. At the time of the Srebrenica operation in the summer of 1995, Jeremic was assigned to the crime police department. Chief of security Drago Nikolic was Jeremic’s superior.

In the examination-in-chief, Jeremic said that in July 1995, after the fall of Srebrenica, he saw trucks and buses pass by the Zvornik Brigade military barracks on the road to Bijeljina. They were full of women and children and prisoners, and were escorted by the VRS troops. The prisoners sat with their heads down and their hands behind their neck. According to the witness, there were rumors in the military barracks that the prisoners were taken to the Batkovic prison camp in Bijeljina, where they were to be exchanged.

On a day in July of 1995, Jeremic was ordered to stand guard at the military barracks gate. The other military police officers, including Jeremic’s two colleagues from the Crime Police Department, went out to do some field work. Jeremic wasn’t able to remember exactly when that happened. This prompted prosecutor Ambeer Hasan to confront the witness in the cross-examination with a Zvornik Brigade military police document, which shows that Jeremic was on duty on 14 July 1995. On that day, there was a mass execution of prisoners from Srebrenica in Orahovac.

Jeremic first claimed that his colleagues Goran Bogdanovic and Cedo Jovic never told him where they had been and what they had done upon their return from the field. After the prosecutor reminded the witness that he had stated the opposite in his evidence in the Popovic et al. case, Jeremic confirmed that indeed, when Bogdanovic came back from the field he told Jeremic that they had been in Orahovac and that they had been ordered to shoot at the prisoners. Bogdanovic told the witness that he had ‘laid down his rifle and refused to shoot’. Jeremic claimed he was not sure when Bogdanovic told him the story: it may have been as soon as he got back in the barracks, or later, after seven days, even after a couple of months.

In the case against Popovic et al. Jeremic testified that in the military barracks he had heard stories about the execution in Pilica. When he was cross-examined by the prosecutor, Jeremic said he did not want to change his previous statement in any way, although he couldn’t remember the events now. Jeremic added that no one had called for an investigation of the executions of prisoners in Orahovac and Pilica, either officially or through unofficial channels.

On 18 July 2015, Jeremic participated in the interrogation of four Muslim prisoners and two Serbs who had tried to help them get through to the territory under the BH Army control. The four Muslims,Emin Mustafic, Sakib Kiviric, Fuad Djozic and 15-year old Almir Halilovic, had survived the Branjevo farm massacre on 16 July 1995. After the massacre, they were re-arrested and held in the Zvornik Brigade military barracks. The four detainees disappeared without a trace.

Jeremic claimed that he didn’t know anything about the fate of the four Muslims. The brigade commander Vinko Pandurevic and security chief Drago Nikolic decided what would happen to the prisoners, he said.

Ratko Mladic’s trial continues on Monday, 20 April 2015 after a one-week break.